Justice Scalia defends comparing laws against homosexuality, murder

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia compared homosexuality and murder on Monday as he argued at a Princeton seminar that elected bodies should be allowed to regulate actions they see as immoral.

"If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?" Scalia said, according to The Associated Press. 

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The justice's comments are sure to draw attention with the Supreme Court set to enter the debate over gay marriage in its coming term. 

Scalia was asked about controversial comments he had made in the past that argued that the constitutionality of subjects like the death penalty, abortion or sodomy laws were all "easy" to decide by considering the Constitution as understood by its writers.

Scalia said that while he did not believe such hyperbole was "necessary," he did think it was "effective" in forwarding his argument that legislatures should be allowed to ban acts they believe to be immoral.

"It's a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the 'reduction to the absurd,' " Scalia said.

Scalia said he did not equate homosexuality morally with murder, but was making a point about the state's ability to regulate them.

"I'm surprised you aren't persuaded," he deadpanned to the audience member who asked him about his views.

The Supreme Court announced last week that it will hear arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state. The court is expected to rule whether the ban against gay marriage is constitutional, and whether the federal government should recognize gay marriage for purposes including tax filings, Social Security benefits and immigration.

This post was updated at 10:15 a.m.